Today, Bob and I received a package in the mail from my Uncle Kent. Inside were three bats, each with one of the boys' names. Bob and I decided it was time for an amateur photo shoot. The only thing missing (other than photographic talent and cooperative models were Rangers outfits. So far my quest to get Rangers onesies has been for naught. I keep checking Academy, WalMart, Target, and MLB.com, but so far I haven't found three in the right size that are cute (we'd like one in red, one in white, and one in blue, so if you know of any place I can make my husbands dreams come true, please let me know).
Our boys are two months old!!! It's hard to believe that the time has flown by so fast. Yesterday, we all went to the doctor's office and then shopping at Sam's Club. According to Dr. G, everybody is doing fantastic. Ryan has a little acid reflux, and we've changed his formula which thankfully Debi had given us a bunch of before the boys were born. It's very chunky to mix and I had to pull out the blender, but it did help Ryan to sleep through the night for the first time! Despite his reflux, Ryan is almost 13 lbs. James and his belly button weigh 9.5 lbs, and Michael is almost 12 lbs. They are still short for their age, but weight wise, the boys are right in there with the rest of the pack.
In the last week or so, things have gotten very active around here. The boys had their first playdate with Jack Moore. The parents were having such a good time that I totally forgot to document this with photos, but hopefully we can play again and document properly. Eric brought Quinn and Chloe for a visit as well. Despite how I tried to convince them, they weren't interested in a new baby brother, but they did want to hold our guys.
On Sunday, the boys finally made an appearance at church. Both grandmas and Aunt Faith came with us, so we filled an entire pew with our clan (I was worried we wouldn't fit). The boys did very well. Ryan ate during the sermon, and I was worried that he would burp while Tim was talking. I shouldn't have been concerned since he saved his burp for the altar (and James broke wind while we broke bread). They were all so peaceful and didn't cry at all. I guess they were all listening when I told them how to behave in church.
Bob and I had been anticipating bringing our boys up to the altar for months. Bob was very concerned about how to have two babies and take communion, but the presence of the grandmas meant that we avoided that hurdle. After church, we took pictures to commemorate the event then headed out for some hot wings for lunch.
Lunch was very tasty, and due to the road construction, Hooters was empty. It meant that the boob-a-licious waitresses had plenty of time to admire our crew. Perhaps the most amazing part of lunch was actually getting my mom into the restaurant. I'm pretty sure she enjoyed the wings if not the scenery. Speaking of the scenery, Michael has started to stick his hand in people's cleavage. It makes me wonder what Bob is teaching those boys at the 5 a.m. feeding when no one is listening.
After lunch, we dropped off Mom & Faith and headed over to the Gabriels. Mrs. Gabriel really enjoyed holding the boys, and they were very good for such a long time. They really needed to stretch after so long in their chairs, so it was nice to visit and nice for the boys to get a chance to change positions.
While we were at the Gabriels, Mr. Gabriel introduced Mikey to beer. I'm starting to wonder about my middle child - beer and boobs in one day and burping at the altar. Hmm, I might need to take him in hand. Once we finally made it home, the boys had such fun hanging out in their activity mats. The enjoyed the stretching, and since we only have two activity mats, we put two of them in the aquarium. Mikey tends to get stuck in isolation a great deal as he moves around a lot and likes to kick, punch, chew on his brothers. I definitely need to invest in a third mat for the safety of my children. This morning, James grabbed Michael's pinky in a death grip and was thrashing around. I guess the brotherly love has already kicked in.
Yesterday, our buddy Cheryl came to hang out with us and participate in bath day. While she was here, I pick up some good tips on how to help your baby sleep through the night. Most of what Cheryl told us was in the article we have been following, but she said that she did not feed her kids in the middle of the night unless they really freaked out for food. Kathy and I have been splitting the night shift, and it's been pretty hard because we let the boys wake up and eat when they dictate rather than sticking to the four hour schedule. We've all noticed that they don't eat much in the middle of the night at all, so last night, Bob and I decided to try the soothe and starve method.
(Chubbier cheeks - Michael)
We put the boys to bed around 9 or so, and Bob and I were in bed with the farmers - 9:30. About 1:30 a.m., Michael started squawking, and so I headed upstairs with a mission to comfort and soothe without feeding. By the time I made it upstairs, Mikey was pretty vocal (no problem really except for the fact that he woke up James which in turn woke up Ryan). Until about 3:30, Dusty, Emma, and I all hung out and travelled from crib to crib soothing and patting and shoving the pacifier in open mouths. The ladies were on point, and it went pretty well. Around 3:30ish, everyone settled and I went downstairs to the bathroom. I needed to pump but was too hesitant to do it at this point because I knew as soon as I "strapped up" they'd be demanding my presence in the nursery. Thus, I tinkled and returned. By this point, Dusty had abandoned ship and returned to bed while Emma slept on the bed and tried to bite me every time I sat down on the bed we kept in the nursery for grown-ups. James, who hates dirty pants, started going to town around 3:45ish, so I changed diapers while the boys stayed in their beds (I was very strong and did not pick them up one single time). Mikey started going really nuts around four, so I gave him about an ounce of food and he went back to sleep and slept without waking up again until 5:30 when Bob had to roust him out to eat.
(Chubbiest cheeks - Ryan)
At 4:45, my main man arrived in the nursery, and we decided that the boys had done very well and got James and Ryan up to eat. Ryan actually took his pacifier much more than usual during the night, and he was very patient (he's my baby that likes to eat, so I was interested to see if he could make it without a midnight snack). Surprisingly, they boys were not starving. I thought they'd eat like ravenous wolves, but they just ate their normal early morning amounts and went back to sleep. Other than the fact that they were pretty labor intensive, they seemed to do well with the soothing technique. Hopefully tonight will be easier and Bob and I can accomplish our goal of getting the boys to sleep through the night before Grandma Newhouse heads home. Things are looking pretty good (although it could just be my sleep deprived state is altering reality).
The boys are now 7 1/2 weeks old, 1 1/2 week adjusted and things are starting to get to be what people told us they'd be like. For the first 3 or 4 weeks they were home it was pretty simple to be honest. We had our 3 (or later we made it 4) hour schedule. Each boy got 30 minutes to be changed and fed. There were very few issues during that span and the worse it got was sometimes it would take an hour 45 minutes to get through a rotation because somebody was slow.
My mom is still here and she has been a Godsend. She's enabled us to rotate out between the three of us and it went a long way to making those first few weeks easy. You could do a shift with one person allowing the other 2 adults some much needed sleep, the boys rarely were awake at the same time.
That has changed within the last week. They are staying awake a little longer now and James and Michael are getting a real nack for squaking.
We've been reading a lot for months on the best ways to get through having triplets but they all pretty much say the same thing, the first year is hell. I never thought we'd avoid it but a week or so ago I did think that maybe we will be able to get through it without killing each other.
Well, nobody has died yet but we are all starting to get more and more tired, more and more cranky and the "discussions" are getting more and more heated. As the boys seemed to be able to spread their feedings out a bit we decided to go ahead and start the "sleep training". Everything we read said this could take about 6 weeks but we went ahead and started it off this week.
We all knew it would take a bit but at the same time I think each one of us thought our boys are great, they'll get this real quick like.
Put them down at 6:30 or 7 and they should sleep until about 7 AM is the ultimate goal. Maybe you'll have to feed them once in the middle of the night.
Well, we aren't even close to that. We started with that schedule but it never panned out. We'd put them down at 7 and they would just squak for what seemed like ages. One of the keys to sleep training is crying it out. None of us are very good at that.
Since I pull the 5 am shift on workdays, I would go to bed around 9 just so I wouldn't have to hear the cry it out portion of the evening anymore. Well, the boys were still wanting their 2 overnight feedings and it wore Angela and my mom ragged. They were responding to the severe whales from each child so instead of a nice 1 1/2 shift, one would cry one hour, the other an hour and a half later and in the middle of that the 3rd one would start. Then about 10 minutes later baby #1 starts again.
It was brutal. My 5 am shifts were turning into 4 AM shifts as Angela would finally get to bed about 3:45 and then a baby would start again and I didn't have the heart to wake her up and say, hey, you still got an hour left on your shift.
We moved their bedtime to about 10 the past couple days and I think it has helped a lot. Now we only have one overnight feeding and so far it's been at about 4 hours - so around 12:30 or 1 since we would do their last "daytime" bottles at about 8:30.
I say that and the reason I'm doing this blog now is because I'm waiting for them to cry as I'm taking the late night shift because both Angela and my mom are just beat. Ryan went 6 hours between feedings. The other 2 almost 5. That's good news as progress has been made but it meant I've been holed up in the nursery waiting for feeding time since 12:30 AM. It is now 3:11 and I just finished that round. Well, kinda I need to wait a minute and then try to burp James again, I never did get him to do that. Oh yea, I may need to feed Michael a little more, he hit leadoff at about 1:15 AM and only ate 2 oz, he may want some more any minute now.
I can't speak for Angela but I'll try when I say I think our frustration comes in when we just don't know what to do. We know what the end goal is, we just aren't sure how to make it work with our boys and our issues (they don't seem to want to eat more during the day so that they are full at night and we get tired, so playing with them between feedings during the day sometimes is nearly impossible.) It makes things difficult and then Angela and I start barking at each other. Or, I bark at her and she cries is more like it.
I think she's also frustrated with trying to breast feed. No matter how hard she tries, she just can't produce enough for 3 kids. She told me today she's able to get 2 feedings for each boy every day but that's about the extent of it. We are about to pull the plug on this and return the breast pump to the hospital - it's taking too much out of her.
I get frustrated with the fact that I haven't quite made the connection with the boys that others seem to have. I can't tell them apart. I cheat, I know who gets put where and what they are wearing. But if you stripped them naked from their chest up and did a shell game on me, it would take me awhile to ID them. I can't just see one and go, oh, that's James.
Most people that walk in here can, I can't. It's frustrating.
The thing that makes me laugh about this long rant and all the ones I've posted on this site in the last few months, we haven't seen anything yet. It's only going to get worse.
That's ok, once I get some sleep I'm sure we'll be fine but for now things are a bit tough is all I'm trying to say.
Who knew that you could have near-death experiences at the age of seven weeks? Michael and James have now both given us death scares. A couple of weeks ago, James spit up and got vomit in his nose. He stopped breathing and turned purple. Kathy had the presence of mind to flip him over like they showed us in that class and we sucked the milk out of his nose with the blue bulb thing. I think that I almost died about the same time that James did. I remember screaming for Bob and praying, but thank goodness Kathy had her head on straight. Afterwards, we both cried (some more violently than others), but we all survived and I had hoped that we would NEVER have to do that again. Ah, once again hopes dashed. Michael had a rough day today. At the 6 a.m. feeding, he did some kind of summersault off of Bob's leg while being burped. Luckily Bob caught him by the onesie inches from the floor and while hanging upside down, actually burped. Bob's heart stopped for a few beats, but Mikey was just fine. Then this evening during the 9 p.m. feeding, he vomited while still sucking on his bottle and we had to pull out the nose bulb and take care of business. It was still scary, but luckily I felt much more prepared for this near death experience. As of yet, Ryan (who is trying to be the perfect child) has not done any kind of tricks like his brothers have. Thank goodness for small miracles.
Other than the puke/falling excitement, the big change around our house is the fact that we are actually leaving the house occasionally. On Tuesday, we met Uncle Stephen and his significant other at Billy Miners in downtown Fort Worth.
It was a lot of fun, and we actually fed all three guys at the restaurant while drinking happy hour specials.
Bob's biggest concern about going out in public is having to deal with curious on-lookers who aren't necessarily polite. So far, it hasn't really been bad. We definitely attract attention, but it's not so horrible. Most people just kind of covertly stare, so I like to pretend that they are checking me out because I'm so hot.
Not only have we eaten out, but the boys have actually shopped! Today, Kathy and I ventured out on our own with the boys. We stopped at Ulta (where I purchased nail clippers for Bob and some high quality nail polish for me - manicures might be out of the budget, but I figure nice looking toes are a must either way), and the boys and Kathy sat in the car while I ran in and shopped. Then all of us got out at Hobby Lobby and bought the stuff we needed to frame our family photo that I got blown up for the wall. We pushed the boys in their stroller, so we got a few stares and comments, but nothing stupid like they post on the triplet site (I'm sure it's coming soon, but no one has asked us anything dumb like "are all those kids yours?"). From Hobby Lobby, we headed to Dr. Snead's office to see all our old pals. It was lots of fun to visit, that's for sure. After the doctor's we went to the bank and the grocery store (the boys hung out in the car for the grocery stop), and by the time we made it home, they were HUNGRY. It all went very smoothly, but I can see where the two people to three babies ratio is a very good one.
Now that the boys are six weeks old, Bob and I have decided that it's time for them to leave the nest (i.e. our bedroom) and branch out on their own. This meant that we moved all three cribs into the blue room upstairs and put the framed names Carol made for us above their beds. I also hung some things on the wall in the green room. It was kind of fun to "decorate" the nurseries (although I did leave the twin bed in the boys' room as a back up). We are also trying to get the kids to sleep longer during the night, so we are following the advice of some "expert" and put the boys in their room after the 6:30 pm feeding and let them "self-soothe" (i.e. cry) for 5 minutes before attending to their needs. I'm not sure I'm going to enjoy this process, but I think the end will justify the means if I can handle the hands off approach.
Today was Bob's 39th birthday, and in order to commemorate the last birthday in his thirties, we decided to do things up right. Jerry Jones knew it was Bob's special day, so he held an open house for us to go and check out the new stadium, our highly overpriced seats, and the brick we bought. Since we have four seats, we got four tickets for the preview so Joseph and Kathy came along on our journey to find out where all that money we've been spending has been going. The boys are still virtual shut-ins which means that they have left the house twice since they came home - both times to go to the doctor (except for James who has been to the doctor three times). Therefore we procured a babysitter for them - Grandma Wendy - thus giving them a reason to leave the house.
We got started early this morning and left the house around 10:30. My parents were eagerly awaiting our arrival complete with the new addition to the family "The Professor" - a gracious gift from Mandy's family to ours. The packing that was required for this short trip over to Arlington was incredible, but the only thing I forgot was a bag to put their wet clothes in - pretty good if you ask me.
After kissing the boys goodbye, we headed over to Jerry's palace. The new stadium is VERY impressive - in a wide variety of ways. The big screen is amazing, the seats are pretty roomy (in comparison to the ones at the old stadium - when we sat in our seats, our shoulders did not touch, amazing), the prices are ridiculous (an $8 bag of chips? seriously?), and to walk around the stadium is like running a marathon that thing is so big. We were all impressed and very excited to get our souvenir cups for $3 rather than the normal $6 (up 50 cents from the old stadium). The pro shop is bigger than Macys and the field is much greener than in the old place (I guess it hasn't been exposed to the sun yet). We enjoyed our tour, dropped some cash for souvenirs, then headed out to partake of the yummy goodness that is Al's Hamburgers.
Al's is right across the street from my old apartment, and anytime we are in that neck of the woods, I remember why I loved living in North Arlington. Also, why did they wait until I moved to put in all those food joints and shops? Al's was packed, so we sat at the counter. I think we didn't say much to each other as we were fascinated by the hive of activity the grill area is during the lunch rush. Bob LOVES Al's, and since they are closed on Sundays (the day we usually are in Arlington), it'd been a while since we ate there. It was greasy goodness. From the hamburger joint, we headed over to the Six Flags Mall (which is a mere shadow of its former self) to watch Funny People. Just a small plug for the theater - 4 adults attending a first run movie for $13, that's what I call a deal.
Funny People was somewhat funny (lots of raunchy one-liners about penises and fart jokes), but it seemed to stall when it got bogged down in a creepy love story and turned the main character into a bigger jerk than he was before his life altering experience. Overall, we liked the film, but it was nowhere near as brilliant as the 40 Year Old Virgin or Knocked Up. By the time the movie ended it was 5:30, and I hadn't pumped since 8:30. All I have to say about that is things were pretty full.
We headed back to Mom's house to collect the children and to meet up with the Kleins. Since the stadium walkabout lasted longer than planned, it was too late for the kids to come over so we called an audible (Bob would be proud of my sports lingo) and headed north to Roanoke to chow down on some Babe's fried chicken.
Bob was a little worried about taking the boys in public and the attention it might arouse. It worked out fine. We got a few friendly questions and some discreet stares (and some overt ones), but no one touched the kids and I refrained from killing the old bastard who saw me sitting with three baby carriers, came over and sat across from my precious children's lungs, and lit up his f-ing cigarette smoked it, and then changed seats (great restraint on my part, I'd say). The boys enjoyed the outing (or rather their parents and grandma enjoyed the outing) and celebrated Dad's birthday by sleeping through most of dinner. Overall, it was a great day, and I swear my husband is just as mature as he was the day I met him.
Yesterday, James and I took a tour of Cook's Children's Hospital on our way to the pediatric surgeon. I even took the stairs carrying James' car seat. We got smoked out in the waiting room as being a multiple since I have his name on his car seat (oops, but those straps are definitely child specific, and who can pass up a chance to use a label maker). I guess it's unusual to see such a small baby at the surgeon's because everyone seemed to be excited to see a tiny baby - doctors, nurses, office staff. The doctor came in and asked why we were there. I told him that James has a herniated belly button and Dr. G said that it was the biggest one she's seen. He said, "I'm sure I've seen bigger." Don't throw a challenge like that out at Mr. James - I opened his onesie, and the doc said, "wow, that is a big one." (Words his father loves to hear). Regardless, the hole which James' intestines are popping through is not too big, and the doc thinks it will heal itself. If it does not get any better in six months, we have to go back. Until then, we just have to get used to the giant purple grape that is James' belly button. (The current size is about three times bigger than the belly button seen above but this photo was much more artistic than I could pull off) - below is what it looks like today).
For the first time in their lives outside the womb, the boys and I are all by ourselves. (We used to spend lots of time alone back at Hotel Baylor, but not so much at casa de Newhouse). Bob and Kathy went to Mansfield to drop off a gift for a friend, so I stayed home with the kids. As they walked out of the door, I told Bob that both of our moms had stayed alone with the boys, but I never have. Seems kinda weird that my kids are six weeks old almost and we've never been on our own. They are currently sleeping (some noisier than others) while I watch SVU. Ryan and James are in the bouncy seats asleep, and Michael is sleeping in the swing - all in front of my spot on the couch. I guess I should put them in the bed, but I kinda like having them all so close. I wish I could just sit on the couch and hold them all, but my lap isn't that big and I'd need the arms of a hindu goddess to make sure no one slid off. It's really nice to just sit here and watch them sleep.
Today, Bob put Ryan under his aquarium activity mat on his tummy. He propped Ryan up on the whale. Ryan objected, and after a bit of squirming (which tragically still looks like me trying to get out of the bed after more than 15 minutes of laying down), Ryan promptly flipped over from his tummy to his back. Of course, there was no video camera to capture the moment, so we made him do it again. I thought I missed the roll, so the first two seconds of the video are fantastic and the next couple of minutes are torture as we try to make him perform for the camera - stage parents already!
The mail today was pretty exciting. Bob and I received the digital pictures and proof album from our boys' photo shoot. We were so pleased with how they turned out. Thus began a quest to pick the perfect picture for the birth announcements. After months of searching and trying to find a triplet themed birth announcement, I was unable to find a reasonably priced announcement and ended up going with my old standby - shutterfly.
The last week has been good, but the days seem to blend into each other. The boys are doing well with their four hour schedule. They seem to have settled into it, except for young master Michael who seems to like to eat small snacks rather than meals lately. He was eating almost four ounces at a sitting but he's been eating maybe two ounces then going back to sleep and waking up hungry a little later. Maybe he's growing or something, but I'm not sure what his thought process is - hopefully we are responding appropriately. He is currently supposed to be eating, but instead he is sleeping on my lap while I type this.
James has figured out how to make us jump. Although he is our smallest little guy, he is definitely our noisiest. Lately, he has decided to just scream randomly so that we come over and pick him up. I have to restrain myself and just give him a pacifier. Since we've quit jumping up every second to stop his screaming, he's cut back on crying wolf. Tomorrow, we are going to the pediatric surgeon for him to examine James' herniated belly button. Hopefully, they will fix his poor little tummy quickly as it is growing bigger every day and is really freaking his parents out. Of all our kids, James seems to be the only one who really LOVES his pacifier. He is currently sitting in the bouncy chair sucking his heart out and watching Grandma Newhouse talk to her buddy on the phone.
Ryan is doing great. He seem so much bigger than his brothers to me. I don't know if it's because he seems to be more alert and playful, or if he really is a step or two ahead. He has been awake for large portions of time and is happy to lay in the activity mat or sit in the bouncy seat. He is eating well and is currently sleeping with Dad in the big brown chair. He's probably worn out because earlier, we put him on his tummy on the activity mat. Bob propped him up with the whale, and Ryan rolled from his tummy to his back. We made him do it again, but he called it quits after that and laid on the whale and cried until we let him stop performing. Thankfully, I got a couple seconds on the video camera with rolling action.